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Bumblebees navigate new turf without a map

The insects can quickly calculate the best route between flowers

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1:25pm, September 20, 2012

Bumblebees are anything but bumbling: The insects quickly figure out the optimal route for visiting five far-flung flowers, a computational task that even human brains find challenging.

That result suggests that an elaborate mental map isn’t necessary to travel efficiently in unknown territory. Finding a way to mimic the bumblebee’s navigation system may allow programmers to develop  robots that adeptly maneuver through unfamiliar places.

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